Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) yesterday met with Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare and signed a bilateral visa waiver agreement with the Pacific ally, defying rumors about souring ties.
The two met at the Pacific Islands Forum in Tuvalu, which took place from Tuesday to yesterday. Wu led a delegation to the forum from Thursday to today.
Speculation that Solomon Islands might switch recognition to China was renewed after the Pacific state’s elections in April, which saw the return of Sogavare to power after being voted out in 2017.
Sogavare told reporters at the time that his government would re-evaluate the nation’s foreign relations.
Over the past few months, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has reiterated that the two nations continue to enjoy stable ties.
Two weeks ago, a ministry official said that the Solomon Islands government was mulling whether to send a task force to visit Taiwan after it sent a task force to visit Beijing’s allies in the Pacific.
Sogavare yesterday thanked Taiwan for offering vital aid to his nation over the past few years, while sharing his government’s new development vision, the ministry said.
Highlighting their inadequate traffic infrastructure, Sogavare expressed hope that Taiwan and other development partners would offer pertinent assistance based on the needs of Solomon Islanders, it said.
Solomon Islands is one of Taiwan’s oldest Pacific ally, and Taiwan will — within the scope of its capacity — seek concrete collaboration plans with other like-minded countries to jointly assist in its development, Wu said.
Wu also signed a bilateral visa waiver agreement with Solomon Islands Minister of Foreign Affairs Jeremiah Manele.
The agreement would allow people from both countries to stay in each other’s country for 90 days without a visa, the ministry said, adding that it would take effect after administrative procedures are completed.
The meeting proved fruitful and significant in consolidating Taiwan-Solomon Islands ties, it said.
Taiwan has signed similar agreements with Nauru, Tuvalu, the Marshall Islands and Palau, it added.
In his speech at the forum’s closing ceremony, Wu said that Taiwan last month also renewed a collaborative agreement with PIF Secretariat, promising to continue subsidizing its scholarship program, regional development plans and projects that send Pacific officials to intern at regional organizations.
Taiwan also plans to set up Taiwan Digital Opportunity Center missions in ally countries that are interested in such developments to boost their digital infrastructure, the ministry added.
TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT: A US Air Force KC-135 tanker came less than 1,000 feet of an EVA plane and was warned off by a Taipei air traffic controller, a report said A US aerial refueling aircraft came very close to an EVA Airways jet in the airspace over southern Taiwan, a military aviation news Web site said. A report published by Alert 5 on Tuesday said that automatic dependent surveillance–broadcast (ADS-B) data captured by planfinder.net on Wednesday last week showed a US Air Force KC-135 tanker “coming less than 1,000 feet [305m] vertically with EVA Air flight BR225 as both aircraft crossed path south of Taiwan” that morning. The report included an audio recording of a female controller from the Taipei air traffic control center telling the unidentified aircraft that it was
A series of discussions on the legacy of martial law and authoritarianism are to be held at the Taipei International Book Exhibition this month, featuring findings and analysis by the Transitional Justice Commission. The commission and publisher Book Republic organized the series, entitled “Escaping the Nation’s Labyrinth of Memory: What Authoritarian Symbols and Records Can Tell Us,” to help people navigate narratives through textual analysis and comparisons with other nations. The four-day series is to begin on Thursday next week with a discussion between commission Chairwoman Yang Tsui (楊翠), Polish-language translator Lin Wei-yun (林蔚昀), and Polish author and artist Pawel Gorecki comparing
MOVING OUT: A former professor said that rent and early education costs in Taipei are the nation’s highest, which makes it difficult for young people to start families The population of Taipei last year fell to the lowest in 23 years due to high rent, more transportation options and the expansion of northern cities into a single metropolis, academics and city officials said on Monday. Data released this month by the Ministry of the Interior showed that the capital was home to 2,602,418 people last year, down 42,623 from 2019. The decline is second only to 1993, when the population fell by 42,828 people, while Taipei’s population was the lowest it has been since 1997. Taipei saw the biggest drop among the six special municipalities, while Taoyuan led the group in
A legislator yesterday called for authorities to investigate the sale of Chinese-made, Internet-connected karaoke machines containing “propaganda songs.” Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃) said she was approached by a person who had discovered Chinese patriotic songs such as My Motherland (我的祖國) — which is commonly referred to as China’s “second national anthem” — in Chinese-made karaoke devices sold in Taiwan. The machines are popular, as they can connect to the Internet, providing access to thousands of songs, she said. One retailer, who asked to remain anonymous, said that the machines first entered the local market about three years ago, starting with